Comment & Opinion

3 simple steps to improving your retention

Mike Herron wants you to stay

3 simple steps to improving your retention

Mike Herron is Head of Connected Technology at Tag Games' middleware subsidiary ChilliWorks.

If you want to give your game the largest possible audience then chances are you'll be looking to target mobile platforms and utilise the F2P model.

The potential rewards of creating the next big thing in mobile F2P are almost limitless, as proven by the runaway success of titles like Candy Crush and Clash of Clans.

Mobile F2P is a huge draw for developers, but there are huge challenges to overcome if you want to give your game a fighting chance of success.

Helping hand

With ChilliConnect, we aim to help you overcome these hurdles.

A key challenge is retention and keeping players in your game, rather than one of the millions of other mobile titles out there.

In most cases your players will have been acquired at a cost and depending on your marketing strategy this could be through direct user acquisition, licensing, celebrity endorsement or traditional press.

Whichever way, few of your future players will come for free so keeping your players engaged is absolutely vital to your game's success. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that if someone isn't playing they aren't paying!

So how can you improve the retention of your games?

For us, the answer lies within each individual player's motivations. From there we can build the mechanics to address these desires - of which connected features are surprisingly effective.

1. What is compelling me to play?

  • What are you challenging the player to achieve?
  • Are you communicating this clearly?
  • How will the player know they have achieved the objectives?

2. Can I play the way I want to?

  • Can the game support both short bursts of play and longer sessions?
  • Can it find the right balance between depth of experience and immediacy ?
  • If you can support multiple player types, you'll find a wider audience enjoys your game.

3. Am I invested in this experience?

  • Consider how quickly you can get your players committed and engaged.
  • Constructive feedback loops build positive player sentiment, but care must be taken to avoid making progress too easy.
  • As soon as the player has invested significant time or money, they will be less likely to churn.

4. Make a fun game

This is the easy part right?

So how do these needs convert into tangible game features that can improve player retention in your game?

Features that introduce community, competition and incentives are key and with ChilliConnect, these can be implemented seamlessly into the player experience.

1. Community features - building a shared experience

Social features such as chat, messaging, trading and sharing which allow players to communicate within the game add an extra dimension to the experience.

Friends in Moshi Monsters

Players return to share experiences and assets, set up new games/challenges within the environment you've created for them, create groups and build community.

Even in a game as simple as bingo the addition of in-game chat dramatically changes the experience for the better.

In a game with a strong sense of community, players develop strong bonds between each other and this can become as important to them as the game itself.

2. Competitive systems - make the most of quick gameplay sessions

Introducing PvP modes within your game appeals to your players' competitive instinct and provides an opportunity to deliver short and snappy game sessions.

PVP in Colopl NI's Downtown Showdown

These in turn can punctate longer bouts of solo gaming where players focus on tasks such as collection, building and skill development.

3. Incentives - keep your players hanging in

It's every developer's dream to have their players fully engrossed from the outset, but in reality many games don't reveal their true qualities until after the player has invested significant time.

A global event in the Tag-developed Downton Abbey: Mysteries of the Manor

Push messaging can be used to re-engage players after a period of inactivity, while flexible sales structures can introduce loyalty bonuses and content incentives for first-time buyers.

These features will in turn encourage your players to commit to your game in the long-term and see the best of what it has to offer.

If you'd like to find out how easy it is to add these connected features to your game, our door is always open so please drop us a line at

Otherwise, check out our tutorials at regularly posts content from a variety of guest writers across the games industry. These encompass a wide range of topics and people from different backgrounds and diversities, sharing their opinion on the hottest trending topics, undiscovered gems and what the future of the business holds.